Blindsided by Anxiety

by Jami and Marla Keller, Cofounders

(Jami) When Marla asked me the other day, “When do you feel anxiety, and what is your reaction to it?” my first response was, “I don’t.”

As Mark Twain so aptly put it, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

How can you not feel anxious in our world today even if you avoid the news (which, btw, is one of the biggest contributors to your anxiety)? Everyone is so tense these days. Just as an example, even in our usually friendly town, Marla pulled up a few feet when she thought the light had changed entering the empty crosswalk by a few feet (nothing dangerous as she is the safest driver in our family) and stopped.  Suddenly this guy three lanes away started yelling at her and he kept it up through the next two lights calling her names. At one point he threatened violence and we considered the idea that he was going to get out of his work truck. What was very clear is that he seriously needed some anger management tools. It was a bit unsettling.

We can all feel it–the overwhelm, choked, controlled and fearful feelings– about things that are completely out of our control. Your anxiety may be a trait inherited and/or learned from early on in your life or it may be a temporary state of being due to trauma, heartbreak, betrayal, or any loss. (Marla) I thought up until more recently that my experience with anxiety was circumstantial due to Jami’s infidelity (you can read more about this HERE) more than it was a trait. Denial much??? Yep, when I look at my family of origin I see worry everywhere I look. In fact, one of my siblings just had a heart attack and it’s being connected directly to stress (a simple word that diminishes what it really is– worry and anxiety). I was born this way and my over-achieving, perfectionistic, approval-seeking self just figured out how to stuff it and use, well, over-achieving, perfectionism, and approval. Imagine what this did to me when Jami didn’t “approve of me” or when my response to his infidelity was, “Obviously I’m not enough…” Lies, all lies. What did I do with this? I reached out to our relationship mentor and consultant for help. Whether it’s a trait for you or a state of being because of circumstances it is important that you take some time and talk to someone about it (if you haven’t already).

The world can be a bit scary these days.

According to our Google search anxiety is an “[i]ntense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur.” (Jami) I began to realize that anxiety was a big part of my life… And obviously, I was being blindsided by it. I called it something else, and even got treatment in 1999 for what I called my adrenaline addiction. High-risk sports and behavior were my numbing “drugs of choice,” and as you can imagine, not so good for family life.

It nearly killed me.

And I am not alone. The suicide rates have increased dramatically since 2008 with one source citing that it has the rate for teen girls raising by 300%. It is up in all age groups by as much as 30% and among women it has increased by 50% during this same timeframe. According to senior science reporter at Business Insider, Hilary Brueck, “Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for all Americans from 10 to 34 years old.” What happened in 2008? The first iPhone came out. There is precious little information available about how smartphones impact since the one study funded by the U.S. government was suddenly defunded when the initial results revealed more danger than expected. The only country continuing to do research currently is Australia. Whether it is a combination of social media and screen time radiation and light effect, or just taking time away from real human contact the evidence is overwhelming. We do know definitively that the research shows social media use increases depression and loneliness.

Natalie Rasgon, a psychiatry and gynecology professor who directs the Stanford Center for Neuroscience in Women’s Health, addresses the numbing of anxiety symptoms that happens due to medicating the physical symptoms as opposed to taking care of the core issues saying, “A lot of people who have depression and anxiety experience physical symptoms. Rather than understanding their mental health, they get medication to treat the symptoms.” Medicating by itself is not the answer.

Anxiety, like all emotions, is a series of constructs. We all “make up” what is okay to feel and express by the signals we get from our parents and peers. The methods and habits that get ingrained in our heart and mind are, crazily, completely developed and set by the time we are seven years old. These methods and habits we call modes are changeable but we must consciously and consistently focus on what is actually happening and how our old habits are not serving our current situation.

The shift in how humans have lived and interacted over the last eighty years has been so significant it is difficult to understand. In 1940, and all of known history before that time, people lived primarily in an agrarian culture. That meant that people grew up in a close community of families, and between 75 and 150 people knew who you were, who your parents were, and what job you had. If you did a bad job they told you, or your parents. Talk about immediate accountability!

Fast forward 80 years. How many people in your life can even do that now? Most everyone we ask responds with a big, fat “zero!” The isolation and in our culture is crushing our souls and heightening our anxiety.

Let that sink in. The way we live today is not sustainable, and we can see the evidence of that socially, economically and ecologically.

Anxiety and depression are overwhelming and the opioid epidemic and suicide rates are more than enough evidence, and there is more. Just take real stock of what you have been feeling recently. How tired are you? How much stress do you have compared to say, two years ago? How many people do you feel supported by? Who knows that you have had dark thoughts recently?

After coaching individuals and couples for more than twenty-one years we noticed that nearly all of our clients were experiencing adrenal fatigue symptoms. So did our research and we found hair testing at a lab for biochemistry which gives more accurate results than blood work for how our bodies are performing. The results: EVERYONE WE HAVE TESTED HAS SIGNIFICANT FATIGUE AND IMBALANCE BETWEEN THE ADRENAL GLANDS AND THYROID FUNCTION. To be clear many of our clients make an appointment with us because they are experiencing stress so this is not a scientific example. But the ease of balancing your biochemistry combined with the emotional tools we teach to change your modes of emotional operation is a powerful combination that will change the very DNA that is affecting your behavior. It’s all fixable within a relatively short time period of time! (Our coaching packages are six weeks to six months depending on the desired outcome.) By the use of our coaching, consultation and mentoring the physical symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression drop significantly, most often within three weeks!

The problem is we are blinded by how our brains work. We can not see better alternatives than watching our screens for eight to ten hours a day, avoiding people in any real connection, and eating poorly.

We can not make enough changes alone. We have to have help to see the blind spots in our own thinking and how we feel. We have been using a process that completely transforms the fundamental thinking and feeling so that you can take charge of how you process the stress that is inevitable in the world we live in. Don’t make the same mistake I (Jami) made thinking that I was immune to stress. What was really happening is that I was stuffing it down into my core, letting it rot there. It is time to start with yourself and learn to really forgive so that you can start building a close community of support that will allow you to give and receive the support we all need! Start by making a free appointment with us either in person here in Boise or online with video chat. Whether you decide to work with us or not we will give you a couple of free tools that will start you on your journey. Every single client that we have worked with that dives head-first into the work significantly reduces their depression and anxiety and learns how to manage their stress in the best ways possible.